“Civil Rights” Groups

July 28, 1998
The Multiracial Activist
From The Editor:

A little birdie clued me in on a story in the July 26, 1998 edition of The New York Times, Week in Review section, titled "Good Times Are Bad for Interest Groups". The story outlined some of the tactics used by advocacy and civil rights organizations in their struggle for funding and power. The NAACP was, of course, a major focus of the story.

Last week, Julian Bond, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NAACP, told attendees at the NAACP's annual convention, "for those Americans whose skins are black or brown, their prospects are poorer and the gap is growing wider," he also said, "the poverty rate has gone up while median family income went down. Poverty for black and Hispanic senior citizens went up, children who were poor got poorer, the numbers in poverty doubling, higher here than anywhere else." The story opens by saying that these "numbers" Bond talks about are in direct contrast with reality, according to several government and private research reports published in the past few years.

In contrast, also last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center, headed by Morris Dees, scored a huge victory for civil rights in this country with the largest jury award ever imposed against a hate group in this country. This award will put the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Columbia, SC out of business. This is a real victory for civil rights because it sends a message to these hate groups that someone is watching and will bankrupt them if they get out of line.

This to me poses a very interesting question. What exactly is a civil rights organization? Is it a group that goes out and voraciously prosecutes and attacks vermin like the Aryan Nations and the Klan, who despise and fear interracial relationships and self-identifying multiracials. Or, is it an organization who used to focus on winning legislative, judicial and social victories in the name of civil rights, but currently uses tactics such as employing slick law professors to publicly ridicule and belittle interracial relationships and self-identifying multiracials? One group is telling us that the glass is half-full, and oh by the way you're only black because you need our protection and the other group is bankrupting a hate group.

Just wondering…

Yours in Struggle,

James A. Landrith, Jr.
Editor and Publisher of the disreputable rag,
The Multiracial Activist

This entry also posted at INTERRACIAL VOICE.

One comment

  1. “Please find enclosed my letter to Kerry Dougherty after her article on Brenda McCormick’s death in Virginia Beach this past week.

    Brenda was hounded to death because of her closely held religious belief that charity can and should be run from the Home. Anyone’s home.

    The city Employee primarily involved in this campaign is Barbara Clarke.

    I have notified the city manager and our local councilman Richard Maddox of Ms. Clarke’s recent behavior and cautioned them that many of the people who loved Brenda were unstable and homeless. I requested that they put a leash on her and tell her to knock it off before some misguided Soul does any harm.

    Please consider this as a possible case. Brenda had Lawyers here at the Beach, but very little money to give them for her defense.

    I will be able to provide you with contacts to verify what she went through before her heart finally gave out. She was only 56 years old.

    One of the last things Brenda said to me was: “”If they can do this to me they can do it to anybody””.

    Thank you for your time and attention
    Alice Mullen 708 High Point Ave.
    Virginia Beach, Va.23451
    757.428.2805 Home
    757.650.4312 Cell

    Dear Kerry,

    Thank you for your kind words about Brenda.

    It is interesting to note that Meyera’s comment about “”those”” who “”would not conform”” seems to have caused a stir. Perhaps if you looked a little more closely at that short sentence, you will come to realize that Meyera’s freudian slip is peeping out from underneath her mayoral skirt. Meyera wasn’t talking about people who live in poverty. Meyera was talking about Brenda.

    Brenda was both “”those”” and “”non-conforming””. Meyera said nothing about “”poor”” people.

    It has been my experience that, if you listen lightly enough, most people will say exactly what they mean regardless of the question that has been put to them. In some cases this is called “”constructive notice””. I have seen this alot lately in the personalized license plates on the highway. I stay away from people with plates like “”2wht4u”” or “”2sxy4u””. I consider their plates to be “”constructive notice”” about the kind of people they are.

    Even with Brenda’s “”non-conforming”” ways she honored a well tested and uniquely American Tradition of Civil Disobedience. She paid for her stance by serving jail time, and it should have been left off at that price by city employees. Unfortunately it was not.

    During the course of Brenda’s struggles she became the object of focus in a child custody battle between her lovely daughter. Rachel, and Rachel’s ex husband, Mr. Nestor. A Social worker was assigned to do a home study. The Home that was studied was Brenda’s not Rachel’s. The social worker interviewed Barbara Clarke (the complaining citizen/city employee). Rachel lost custody of her son because the social worker deemed Brenda too dangerous to care for the child using Ms. Clarke’s opinion of Brenda as evidence. Seems a little harsh to take a child because one has a “”crazy”” relative. If that were allowable on a regular basis we would all be in court defending our parental rights. Which one of us does not have a “”crazy”” relative?

    By the way, Barbara Clarke works for the City Mental Health Service. I assume that the social worker also works for Mental Health Services of one city or another. Ms Clarke’s feelings about Brenda were reported by the social worker as a conclusion. Rachel lost custody of her child because of who her mother was to the City of Virginia Beach. This seems to track more with the Soprano’s Philosophy of justice than it does with anything proper or legal. “”If I can’t get to you, then I will get to your relatives””.

    I understand that this would be a difficult thing to prove, but I was under the impression that “”officials”” should not only avoid impropriety, but even the appearance of such.

    The City of Virginia Beach has hammered many more people than Brenda; it deserves some suspicion from the press. Years ago, when they were “”purchasing”” land for Linkhorn Park School on First Colonial Road, they attempted to cheat an 80 year old woman out of the value of her property. They were trying to pay her $87,000.00 for her land. A judge eventually ordered them to pay $875,000.00. They knew exactly what they were doing. More recently the city was slapped down over its treatment of business owners in the vicinity of our lovely new 5 Star Hilton Hotel on 31st Street.

    Something is terribly wrong here, and it isn’t Brenda, or little old widow ladies, or small businesses.

    Brenda was in the process of improving her property when the police were called in and confiscated all of the materials she had purchased for the demanded improvements. They called it a junk pile. Brenda was handled roughly by the police and ended “”Up against the Wall”” because the officer was suspicious of what she “”might have had”” in her Laundry Basket.

    I don’t know about you, Kerry, but the only reason I would place a dangerous weapon in my Laundry Basket would be to force those who generated the laundry to put it where it belongs!

    The City has not returned the building supplies. Brenda mentioned to me that she would have to go to court to get them back!

    Your reporting of Brenda’s last email to you when she wrote the “”city is killing me”” was not really about her upfront battle, for which she was willing to pay the price, and for which she did pay the price. It was about the collateral damage inflicted by vengeful people who have been inexplicably coddled by the press. You guys know what goes on when the city wants something and yet you refuse to dig. I am sure you will be shocked when your lack of inquiry emboldens more city employees to play hard ball with citizens. Remind me of what journalism school says your function in society is. Am I missing the point?

    In her triumph and celebration Ms. Clarke drove by Brenda’s house yesterday, smiling and waving; Meyera flashes her freudian foundation garments, and Richard Maddox mumbles. At least you remembered that wonderful laugh, that big heart that was broken and the spirit that will never leave us.

    Please take another look at this and the conclusions that have been drawn. Put aside the rhetoric; both Brenda’s and any city official’s rhetoric and seek the real story here. The behavior reveals the truth, not what is said to justify the behavior. We have had enough “”quotes””.

    The deterioration in Brenda’s writing was the result of having to fight on too many fronts. She was assaulted by an organized effort to bring that wonderful, stubborn, bright and talented spirit to her knees. Just because they didn’t know that she had a bad heart does not make them any less responsible for their unrelenting viciousness. This needs to be said with enough force to keep city employees from drive by celebrations over a fellow human being’s death. If this is how they define winning, then the least we can do is make their victory pyrrhic…big time!

    Just being friendly to the mourners, were we? That would make a cute sound bite for the evening news!

    Brenda has paid for whatever sins of stubbornness she may have committed. Are you really going to let the self-righteous and over zealous have a pass on this?

    Do some digging, ask some questions. Don’t take simplistic quotes from officials. Brenda is gone and there is a celebration of her passing that is not religious or spiritual in nature.

    Thank you for you time and attention.

    Alice Mullen
    708 High Point Ave.
    Va. Beach
    757.428.2805
    Cell 757.650.4312

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